There was Jon Pertwee

Season 5 is now well underway. 6 matches in and I am mid-table. Form has been indifferent. Still well in the running for European places, and a few wins would see me dreaming of a title challenge, but my feeling is that I’ll be mid-table at season’s end. We will see though.

I already know that I am going to need players – good players – and lots of them, to make any real and lasting headway against the PES2018 Superstar AI.

One of the gratifying things about this year’s PES is that it shows no signs of buckling as the seasons tick by.

By this time last PES, and the PES before, I was already fairly certain of how the next few seasons after my first in the top flight would pan out. I knew that I’d continue to churn through the identikit AMF/SS players until I settled on the formula that would deliver the league title and consistent success thereafter.

That was then. This is now, and PES2018 is all the better for it.

The downsides of PES in the current era have not gone away. The fast-flowing style of play is not to my liking. I now accept that this problem won’t ever go away. I’ve got a gaming PC on the way. The PC platform is the future for me and PES, or nothing is.

Konami’s vision is firmly set in favour of multiplayer, and for this new-fangled thing called fun. I’ve remarked before on how ‘fun’ has emerged from the shadows to become mysteriously enshrined as the principal quality that we’re meant to admire in PES, or in any football game. Somehow, it has come to pass unchallenged that PES ‘was always about fun’.

Objection, your honour.

PES was never ‘always about fun’. Never, never, never, never, never. Never.

It was fun, no question, but it was about so much more than fun that to claim it was ‘always about fun’ is to retrospectively dilute what PES used to be.

To illustrate what I mean, I’d draw an analogy between old PES and a TV show like Breaking Bad. The TV show was my life a few years ago and remains the yardstick against which other shows are judged.

Would anybody say that Breaking Bad was fun? Perhaps in many aspects yes, fun would be an appropriate descriptor, but the sheer depth, breadth, height, and multi-sided roundness of the Breaking Bad package as a whole was not one that could sensibly be characterised as ‘fun’.

PES of old was Breaking Bad. PES of now is more like Doctor Who. Yes indeed, lots of fun, but the sci-fi is soft and fluffy, and there’s far too much chasing up and down corridors.

Eh, whatever. One day I might stop going on about all this stuff. That day is not today.

p.s. the Breaking Bad analogy holds good whether you liked/have seen Breaking Bad or not.

Updated: 8th December 2017 — 01:16

44 Comments

  1. Breaking bad is a superb analogy, epic show.
    Not sure if you have seen it but Homeland is pretty damn awesome too, lots of interwoven stories and plot lines, and character depth.

    We buy and play a game to enjoy it, and ultimately have fun, its ‘how’ that fun is delivered which is the golden acorn, to some that fun is free flowing uninterrupted matches, to others its boots, faces and myClub black balls, and to anther crowd its deep, tactical, strategic football, with fouls and player individuality.

    PES was breaking bad BEFORE online was big, now as you say its a doctor who or x-factor, casual cheesy easily consumable fun, because that’s what today’s market dictates.
    Ironic that the title is Pro ‘Evolution’ soccer, yet it has done anything but Evolve.
    Or has it? To evolve means adjust and adapt by natural selection in order to survive, if Konami hadn’t pushed down the online/microtransaction route, there probably wouldn’t be any PES left at all to discuss, then we’d all be back to playing PES 5, but that’s breaking bad, so maybe that would have been ok.

  2. Paul – I’d peg PES’s ‘Breaking Bad era’ from ISS Pro Evolution Soccer (PS1) all the way through to PES2014 (PS3, fully patched). Perhaps I’d tighten that up and say PES2 through to PES2012, with a bump in the road for PES2008. I don’t go along with the forums’ ecstatic retrospective idealisation of PES2013. I think that was the start of the mass-market vision thing. nuPES might have started there and then, with PES2013. But again I’d probably be reasonable and say PES2016 was the decisive shutting of the gate. The barbarians were well and truly inside the castle, and had set up home.

    You’re quite right that evolution does not automatically connote getting bigger, strong, and better. Charles Darwin was a Natural Selection man first and foremost, which does just mean that organisms survive through adapting to the prevailing conditions.

  3. The problem with nuWho, regardless of the over the top aliens and sometimes desperate slapstick humour, is even though they have all the galaxies out there through all of time, 99% of the activity occurs on earth. Now I know the doctor has a protective instinct for the small blue planet but surely there’s a bit more going on out there. The stats may not be on my side but I’m sure messrs pertwee, baker and Davison (cricket not tennis) spent more time on remote bases and ‘alien’ outposts. Now they just run round London every other week.

    Imagine you become the companion. “Where do you fancy going me,old mucker?” “What in the whole of the universe, at any point in its history?” “Yep” “oh, I reckon Trafalgar Square in about ten minutes time would be great”.

    Does that translate to nuPes?

  4. NG, I was going to interject and say that PES 13 was perhaps the first signs of Konami leaning towards what we have today, by introducing the RPG and ‘power up’ elements by way of the magic boots and training items, and things you could purchase to make your players ‘better’.
    When you compare the shift in focus, going from PES 10 to PES 11, they got rid of the rigid 8 way passing, players were heavier, power gauges changes, it was all leaned towards a more authentic football simulation, a re-boot for the series.
    Then only a year or so later from PES 12 to 13 …. the shift towards a more reward based/RPG/in-game purchase model.

    NuPES as we have labelled it, is here to stay, it is the future for PES, whether we like it or not.

  5. Pertwee as I recall was confined to earth for a large part of his tenure.

  6. Uncle Turf — I’m not sure the analogy stretches that far, but I share the distaste for nuWho. A children’s mostly Earthbound fantasy adventure series, with massive dollops of sentiment and schmaltz to fit the early-evening mode. It has to play well in Middle America now of course. Doctor Who since the reboot is more like Quantum Leap in spirit. Not a bad thing — I liked Quantum Leap, and I can tolerate nuWho. But does it reach the stature of old? Not even close.

    Paul — totally agree, nuPES is now PES, no debate about it. The forums have mostly given up, not that they’d be listened to anyway.

    Chris99 — the Pertwee Doctor was confined to Earth because the Beeb couldn’t afford to pay for the sets to be constructed for alien locales. It was either low-budget Doctor Who or no Doctor Who at all, so they came up with the conceit of the Time Lords confining him to Earth after Patrick Troughton’s Doctor was put on trial for being a renegade and stealing a TARDIS. I do know that I’m never having sex again, yes.

  7. NG -This is what your PES 18 PC experience could and should look like!!!!

  8. My apologies I didn’t know that of pertwee – I was a little too young for the majority of his tenure, Baker was my real first (T not C). Also see Moore, Mr Roy, west, bixby, etc…

  9. Paul – NG – i’ve got it looking mostly like the video you posted Paul, sans the camera angle. It really adds something to the experience, there are no fake teams / players and it’s all decked out with official adboards for each team, a lot more callnames in the commentary, team chants, you name it. Replays in 60FPS also look VERY good might I add.

    Played a few exhibitions and my first ML match. Playing as Liverpool in the championship, drew 0-0 against Leeds. Pretty torrid affair but overall OK experience. 2 fouls each. Everything at least looks the business! Let’s see how the gameplay holds up.

  10. PES was always fun in terms of enjoying the grind of a Master League, but never fun in the way we know it these days. Matches were always a struggle for at least the first four seasons, and then those magic ISS/PES moments would start to happen more frequently. That 18-year-old nurtured CF would grow into a world-beater and whatever team you decided to pick for that year (usually, for me at least, a Championship or Division Two team) would start picking up silverware.

    It all started going downhill, in my opinion, when they brought in club team lineups as an option for Master League. “It’ll be a cool addition to have actual lineups,” I remember one of my mates gleefully telling me. “Finally PES will join FIFA in the 21st Century.”

    Except PES never used to care about FIFA. We prided ourselves on realism and not superfluous details such as accurate stadiums and licences and proper player hairstyles. EA’s slogan was “if it’s in the game, it’s in the game”, a comical tautology that demonstrated EA’s love of pomp and circumstance.

    On the other hand, PES was played by people who wanted real football and not fast-paced simulation dressed up as real football. In PES 6, I went 17 games from the start of my Master League without scoring a goal. I remember that far more vividly than anything this current gen has had to offer. In PES 15, I won my first game 4-1! On Superstar!

    I don’t know how much of it is Konami’s fault, and how much is down to a generation seeking instant gratification. PES ’18 is a bloody good game and much slower than any current gen iteration so far, but the forums are rife with people complaining that it’s too slow. ‘Ponderous’ was the word one person used. Have they ever watched a football game before?

    It’ll be interesting to see where PES ’19 takes us, but for now I have a lot of unfinished business with this one.

  11. Paul – just managed to watch that vid, truly impressive and a great showcase for fan modding and the PC platform. I can’t wait to start doing that stuff, and the fact that having this kind of PES is my worst-case scenario makes me very eager for next week. But it’s different gameplay I really want and that still looks very frantic and nuPES-y (I watched the whole thing; the keepers annoyed me too). I’d swap every single bit of the glitz and glamour of how PES looks in that vid, for more solid, thoroughly stats-driven, rugged gameplay. The Arsenal players might as well all have been the same man.

    #1 – that sounds very encouraging so far. I’ve got all the links to the various patches and am ready to go when the time comes. Let’s hear more about your progress though. Particularly in the early ML seasons. I still feel that the forums are actually gushing about how PES2018 looks with one of these super PC patches. Ah, Jenkey, where have you gone to.

  12. Uncle Turf – Pertwee was before my time as well. I learned all the history from reading the Doctor Who books as a lad. Terrance Dicks ftw!

    Incidentally re. Doctor Who: everybody vaguely famous who might once have looked at Coventry on a map is currently being swept up in a dragnet for 2021, but one Delia Derbyshire was very much a Coventry gal, born and educated in the city, a la Larkin. She is of course the composer of the iconic Doctor Who theme. I did not know she was from Cov.

    p.s. you once said you always could work out my post titles’ meanings. How are you doing with the current series that started with ‘Well there was Kenedy’, up to today’s? There’s one more to come in this series as well. Cracking this series invovles being familiar with an edition of PES that I don’t think you are familiar with.

    Dan – I agree with all that, and very much so with the way the forums seem to be playing a curious double game: they’re supposedly hardcore PES fans, but they cherish FIFA-style gameplay values that PES fans should reflexively disdain. The fact that anybody could believe PES2018 is too slow just says it all about where the PES fandom, considered as a bloc, currently sits.

  13. NG – I did crack the code and have an inclination as to what you may do with the next title.

  14. “Always”?! – evidence or it’s not true. I do not know it. And if it’s old pes then it’s true that I’m not steeped in the lore simply because I was the isolated lone wolf player from iss to pes2011, never venturing onto forums, never sharing the joy of certain finds (you may recall me once asking what is w*nb? In the days that we dared not speak it’s name). This place really was the first and only. I did play pes 4-6 or so with a Celtic supporting mate but we drifted apart gamingly when he got into playing with bands and other cultural nonsense.

    My first encounter with a coventonian was at Lancaster university – one of those pre-ucas visits to see if it would be a home for three years. A grim day weather wise, an incredibly bleak campus and a tour with a monotone son of Steve ogrizovic look alike who hammered the nails shut on that particular coffin of study choice.

  15. Paul – re: that video.

    I thought stadiums and logos like that were only available on cracked versions of the game. Is that not the case?

  16. Turf – the PES in question is prior to 2011 but you won’t need to have gone on the forums and the like to work out the link. I only started going on here and forums around the PES 2013 mark.

  17. Darryl – there’s any number of ways the fourth and final leg of the title series could go. I’ll shoe-horn it in somehow, but I don’t yet know exactly how.

    Uncle Turf – a simple Google search of the first title (but using Kennedy instead of Kenedy, and + PES) would provide the answer.

    Dan – no, all PC versions, cracked or legit, are wide-open to modding possibilities. I’m keenly awaiting the findings of #1 re. this patch that’s got the forums buzzing. I still believe it’s all cosmetic though and gameplay hasn’t been touched at all. These mass tactics changes that they do tend not to touch core gameplay, and the occasional different sort of match doesn’t really demonstrate anything. Even vanilla PES2018 throws us the odd great match packed with fouls and incident. We need somebody to do a proper deep-level tinker with the coding values that make the game ignore most physical contacts, ideally on a slider basis that we could adjust up or down to our liking. Sliders are PES heresy for some, but arcade-action nuPES values are by far the greater PES heresy.

  18. Talking of Dr Who I was saddened recently to see the passing of Rodney Bewes. I have always been a fan of the Likely Lads series. What also fascinated me was the relationship off screen between him and James Bolam.

  19. Aha, you know why I would never have got that in a million years? – every pes, no matter what, I mute every song. Every single ‘we will rock you’, ‘top of the world’, the whole lot – I will have never heard a pes title track more than once!

  20. Turf – I only got it because I was playing that game a few months back. Still not picked up a controller in ages now. My wife is away this weekend. Normally I would have seen this as a big opportunity to get some gaming time. Incidentally the PS4 seems to be working now that it has been tested up but I can’t be bothered.

  21. nG – I knew you could get patches for kits and emblems (which I have at the moment) but I thought stadiums were only for cracked versions. Or perhaps it’s the PTE patch I’m thinking of that only works for cracked versions.

    Can anyone give me a link to a good patch for the Steam version that isn’t hidden behind infinite captchas and ad.fly sites?

    Thanks.

  22. I had to google it as well, but have my idea for tomorrow’s title.

  23. Darryl — re. Rodney Bewes and Doctor Who, I had to check with Google to make sure I wasn’t forgetting him having been a significant character in its history (a la Roy Castle in the celebrated Peter Cushing film). Bewes was only in a single Peter Davison story as a minor character. And a confession: never watched The Likely Lads. Much like Rising Damp, I was too young to appreciate just what it was trying to be and do. Pathos-laden drama-comedy. I’ve seen a few Rising Damps in recent years and been amazed at how sophisticated it all is and was.

    Chris99 — I have no idea where tomorrow’s post title is going at this moment. Thinking of digging out Paul’s muscleman picture and posting it under ‘There was gym’.

  24. I expect royalties NG, or perhaps a click-through affiliate scheme for every subsequent visitor to http://www.ocelotfurandmuscle.com/pinups

  25. I can’t stand the likely lads whenever it crops up on uk gold etc. Whining, woe is us nonsense. I suppose it was of its time but I’ve never liked anything with James bolam, he seems an arse to me.

    Paul – got the package. Much appreciated. I’ve deleted 2015 as there’s no likelihood of me returning from a more recent, more involved game to that stripped down effort – gameplay or no.

    Just finished my second big boss mgs battle, well not so much a battle as a run away and hide. I got an awful ranking as I ended up just rocketing the base I was infiltrating.

    Next time footy is called off due to a touch of inclement weather look at yesterday’s buffalo bills game. Awesome.

  26. Turf – Not even Grandpa In My Pocket?

  27. NG – I knew he only played a minor role but the talk of Dr Who brought him to mind for some unknown reason. I was the same with Rising Damp as only came to appreciate it much later. Steptoe and Son was another I didn’t get at the time and now love.

  28. #1 – Thanks.

    Is that an option file of sorts, though? I’ll use it if there’s nothing else, but I’d rather a patch if at all possible.

  29. Chris99 – especially not. Not only did that rip off peter’s pocket grandpa from the dandy there is something rather sinister about an old man wanting to shrink and mess about with kids.

    Porridge is one of the few 70s ones I can still watch.

  30. Dan/#1 – there seem to be plenty of these Option File-type patches, and of course we love the stadia/ad-board/camera stuff, but I’ve yet to see or hear any definite confirmation that there are any gameplay mods for PES2018 on PC.

  31. Glad you got it ok Turf.

    This will probably be my last season with PES 18, just not enjoying the shitfest it keeps serving up.

    Started season 7, as standard, shipped out some players who didnt play much plus the ever under performing 88 rated Lobato, and signed a new CM, LB, RB and RMF, all rated 77 or above.
    All players in my squad are now mid-high 70’s or in the 80’s ratings wise, yet, it seems to make little, if any difference.
    Have started season 7 with 1 win and 3 defeats, including an FA cup 1st round exit to Championship side, QPR, who, despite every player being much lower rated than mine, in each position, were able to out sprint, out muscle, out pass, out shoot and out perform my players in every single way.
    Apparently their players are never affected by stamina either and can play a stupidly intense, aggressive pressure game all match with no stamina issues.

    Rinse and repeat for pretty much every match, stats seem meaningless, seems pointless signing better players each transfer window, just one of the many things that’s really P*ss*ng me off lately.

    That November patch seems to have died and disappeared as I’m now back to being fouled incessantly and blatantly and never being given anything.
    Passes over 5 yards get intercepted with alarming rate, or go to the wrong player, the game tells me I have a strong ewnough squad to work with what I have so the board aren’t giving me much of a transfer kitty increase this year, was given £4mil extra for transfers and only £755k extra for salary, was told by the Owner that he expected champions league football (in my first prem season) and that finishing 13th was way below his expectations and he doesn’t think he can trust me to steer the club in the right direction anymore.

    Next screen was a notice saying I’d been offered a new contract and had been given a substantial transfer and salary kitty boost, £35mil / £7mil respectively.

    Just fed up of the lack of basics working, the complete lack of attention to details, the blatant cheating of COM teams, and everything else.

    Will be my first PES for a few years where I haven’t won trophies and competed at the highest levels, not that you even see a trophy when you win it.

    Quite looking forward to FIFA.

  32. Paul – I never really noticed a difference in gameplay values following the November patch. Maybe the average fouls count has gone from 0.3 to 0.5, but that’s no real difference, and I still have entire sessions of constant-play matches. ‘Fun’? No, not really. Still enjoying what else it has to offer though. And I do still think this AI is exactly what we needed.

    I have the PC coming this week! Should be Thursday. Might have had it today but for the snow.

  33. Of course when I play 2018 it will be superstar challenge mode, Abbeyhill would mock me for less.

  34. Uncle Turf – Legend on Challenge mode, or it’s not Pure and it doesn’t count. You’ll have to win 5x Superstar matches to unlock Legend, so you can either start on Superstar and then move up once you’ve won 5 matches, or play a Tournament or something to unlock Legend first. The latter would be the Purest course.

  35. NG – taking into account PES 17 and 18, before the patch in over 700+ ML games I’d had one penalty and zero injuries, and zero red cards, post patch, within a week or so I’d had 3 penalties, an injury and a red card.
    That balancing out has all disappeared now, games fly by where I cant get any subs on, don’t get blatant fouls or blatant penalties etc.

    Absolutely disagree with the AI we needed comment, we needed an AI that was ruthless, and provided a challenge, but it should all be relative, again details, and basics.
    Man City should be clinical, very difficult to defend against, as should Liverpool, but with a poor defence, Weaker teams should be easier to play against but have their own traits and strengths, QPR should NOT be playing like 70s Brazil, completely over performing on all their individual stats, its totally unrealistic.

    There are still blatantly scripted games where you will NOT score no matter what, and its so blatant and in your face cheating its almost amusing.

    The game simply has not moved on in any way shape or form in the last 4 years. and that is a total fact.
    I do not class sharper more vibrant graphics as progression or evolution in a game.

  36. Paul – nuPES has been an overall retrograde move for the series as a whole. PES2016 was a serious statement of intent. They descended to FIFA’s level in so many ways. Stats and individuality were all but wiped out in that game. There can be no serious dispute about that in my view. As for the penalties and cards etc, my one penalty in PES2018 so far came pre-November. Nothing since. PES2018 is my last ever console PES. And by the looks of it, the serious modders have deserted the PC platform, so it’s in the balance there too.

  37. I wondered if legendary could be unlocked outside of ml but that seems to indicate I could play five exhibitions and do it? So few folk have even mentioned it and the challenge appears to be solely to finish 9th. Is anyone anywhere finding anything different to the general feeling of being played?

  38. Turf – you can indeed unlock legendary just by winning 5 exhibition matches on superstar.

  39. Uncle Turf – 5 wins on Superstar vs the AI in any mode unlocks Legend (no -ary), yes. You’ll never do a Legend Challenge ML. You’ll be perpetually restarting until you give up. Fact.

  40. I’m utterly loving the game at the moment. Snuck into the last Europa League spot in my first year in the Prem on superstar challenge. Managed to win the FA Cup and enjoyed trying to build a bigger squad in the summer to compete on three fronts next year.

    New signings appear to have miraculously slotted in quite well for the Charity Shield where I beat Chelsea on Penalties.

    Am fully aware that when I start the season the new signings will be suddenly shit for ages and there is a strong possibility that the game will shaft me when it doesn’t want me to get a run together.

    However, at the minute, despite the much mentioned lack of fouls and other issues I cant wait to get my teeth into this season.

    Not discounting anyone else’s views obviously but just thought I’d put my current positive state out there.

  41. Been lurking for a while, love the blog! Don’t usually comment on websites but this years version warrants it.

    I’m a massive fan of the series right back to ISS pro on the N64 but last night after playing a series of one touch wonder teams I loudly exclaimed to myself ‘this is not football’ and deleted all trace of PES18 from my PS4!

    On SS the AI is faster, stronger, quicker to react and ALWAYS have men behind the ball even on a break away. Play a through ball with 10 yards between you and the defender and you’ll have to shoot early because the defender will be up your ass in no time…This is with Mo Salah.

    This is on top of the meaningless player ratings, zero fouls and zero injuries…

    Is there any golden version of PES you guys would recommend? I missed out on 08 – 15 and may get a PC version if it is worth it. Preferably okayish graphics but will take fouls and a good master league first!

  42. And with that NG sets the tone for the next few months of gaming…

    I am Legend.

  43. Uncle Turf – 5 restarts and you’ll give up.

    Keith – I don’t think I will ever utterly love any nuPES game, but I am enjoying PES2018 in enough ways that I’m in no danger of stopping. Until the ML ends, then I will stop and move on.

    Sean – thanks for your comment and welcome, and I would heartily recommend PES2014 on PS3 or PC, with the complete range of official patches. Arguably the most PES-ish PES there ever was. Failing that (because PES2014 is the Marmite of PES), PES2013JP (Jenkey Patch) on PC is an astonishing creation if you can still get it.

    There is only one true Golden Version of PES, and its name is PES5…

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